Almost as soon as the Christmas decorations are packed away, out comes another load of glitter and sparkle, this time in the form of carnival costumes and wacky make-up, the perfect antidote to brush away the winter blues!
The Canarian people love to party, and never more so that at Carnival time, the festivities start at the beginning of February in the island’s capital city Las Palmas, then continue right on through to mid-March, when they culminate in Santa Lucia.
For those of us familiar with the Carnival scene in Gran Canaria, it is hard to imagine a time when grown men didn’t parade the streets wearing high heels and comical wigs, when children didn’t dance in Carnival parades till the early hours or when even the local supermarkets failed to stock a decent selection of sparkly false eyelashes.
But during the reign of the infamous Spanish dictator Franco, things were very different.
Franco banned carnival in 1937, on the grounds that it provided the ideal environment for ‘crime to flourish undetected’.
And so the party stopped…
Or so Franco and his supporters believed, but the jovial Canarians were not to be deterred, clandestine celebrations took place up until 1945, when carnival re-emerged publically, if somewhat hesitantly. People took to wearing hooded cloth cloaks with holes cut out for their eyes and mouths, and confined their revelry to their homes.
Franco was no fool; he soon became aware that the festivities were taking place. But as a former governor of the Canary Islands and knowing of their low crime rate, he turned a blind eye to the “Winter Fiestas”, as they were known during the 1960’s.
Unimaginable as it seems now, the ban remained in place until Franco’s death in 1975. The following year, for the first time in almost 40 years, the festivities began in earnest and once again the spectacle that is ‘Carnival’ was alive and glittering all over the Canary Islands.
This year carnival kicks off on Friday 1st February in Las Palmas with the selection of the Carnival Queen, and as always, the festivities are centred around Santa Catalina Park.
The carnival in Las Palmas continues all the way through February, before moving onto Playa del ingles, you can check out the full programme here, on the main website.
If you are visiting Gran Canaria, during this time, we urge you to take a trip up to the island’s capital and join in the celebrations. Check out the online catalogue right here or call into the Viajes AVC office during your holiday at Anfi for further information.
Alternatively, contact via Tel: (+34) 928 062 444 or E-mail: email@example.com